There are things in my week, this week, that I do not want to face. They are big, ugly, vicious, monstrous giants. They taunt me ruthlessly. At least that is how I am currently feeling about them. I am anxious and worrisome. I do not want their time to draw near, yet at the same time I spend much energy wishing they had already passed.
I pray desperate prayers for the Lord to take these things from me, to make life easier on me and to deliver me now to the other side of these events.
I am praying for an escape.
Not only do I pray for a way to flee from these circumstances and situations, I desperately begin to look for distractions to at least help me to mentally “break away” from this anxiety.
I pick up a book, I turn on a movie, I eat junk food munching on whatever is closest, I start doing tasks that are not high importance, I look for things to do that will take me away. I avoid, avoid, avoid the elephant in the room, close my eyes and just wish that it would be gone when I open them.
There is a part of me that is dreading even writing this down, because there is something about seeing the text with my own eyes that is making me acknowledge and face what I am trying so frantically to avoid.
Unfortunately this is not the first time I have found myself in this situation. Let me give you some scenarios that seem to push and bully me into this type of position. Perhaps you can relate to some of these.
- Waiting to get results back on medical tests. Not knowing what the future may or may not hold. Wondering about all of the facets of life that will be impacted by the findings.
- Trying to stretch finances while facing an additional requirement of an unknown but large amount. Fretting about dipping into the emergency fund to cover the cost. Straining over how to build up the stores again.
- Having a responsibility with many details that are contingent upon the work of others, but lacking in communication from team mates. Trying to remember that everyone is not the same and different personalities will do things differently. Coaching myself in the beauty of differences and trusting that it will all work out in the end.
- Being at an event with someone with whom I have a strained relationship. Expecting that they will give me looks of haughty derision with an upturned nose, short and snappy tone of voice, and layers of sarcastic comments. Even though I have acknowledged my wrong doing multiple times, made a formal apology and asked for forgiveness. It seems that I still do not meet approval or have not made appropriate retribution.
- Acknowledging that I am just not cut out to do something. Deeply trying to let go and admit that I am not right for the spot, but also not wanting to give in as a defeated failure.
- Facing a colossal, multiple staged duty with a plethora of details woven together and intertwined not having the tiniest clue where to even begin.
These are just a few of the things that drive me to the point where I pray for an escape. Perhaps you experience similar stresses and anxieties. Maybe yours are completely different. Perhaps what causes me strain, you would be able to walk through with great peace and confidence.
So why do I share this with you. Because, at the end of the day, I know that everything that I am worried about I will have to face and to walk through. From my experience thus far in life, some of these situations will pass by with better than expected results, some are going to be painfully hard in the short term but in the long term will be forgotten about and a rare few will likely change the course of my life moving forward in one direction or another.
Knowing this in my head, I still cry out from my heart “Lord, please don’t make me go through this. Please take this away from me. Take me away from this. Help me get out. Help me run away. Help me to escape.”
Let me acknowledge now that I have never experienced God whisking me magically away to another time or place in great video game fashion. Even though I have asked repeatedly in prayer for that to happen. Apparently, God does not get the greatest glory in helping us to avoid that which is hard in our lives.
I am almost ashamed to find myself at this place of anxiety and worry again. Here is why. I have seen and witnessed personally the Glory of God revealed in amazing situations and statistically impossible circumstances. You would think that having had rich and amazing experiences where God came through with absolute miracles would give me a strength of faith for the future.
Yet here I am praying for God to give me an escape.
So where do I go? What do I do now?
Go to the words of Jesus, Himself. Words that, in my Bible, are written in red.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But, the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:25-27 (NIV)
Take Away Truths
- Jesus has spoken to us
- We have the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father
- The Spirit will teach and remind us of what Jesus has said
- We have been given peace
- Jesus gives in a way much different that the experiences we have had in the world
- Jesus does not want our hearts to be troubled or afraid
- We have power in Christ to not “let” our hearts be troubled
Take the words of Jesus in with me like a deep cleansing breathe. I am not alone in my fear and anxiety. God knew that I would be at this place. He has already made provision and tended to the details of seeing me through. By His generous measure God has apportioned out peace for me and the strength to take one step at a time. Unfortunately, I can still find myself saying “But, God…what about two steps or three steps or eighteen or four hundred steps ahead of me?”
Peace, mercy, strength and love for one step at a time.
Today I am most thankful for the words remind and teach in this passage. There is something so merciful about Jesus acknowledging that I will have to be reminded. Which means, that He knows I am going to forget or turn my attention away and need instruction repetitively.
God’s grace accounts on me having many lessons, even when I do not expect or anticipate them. I may be surprised that I have to relearn something or try again, but God is not. He has the wisdom to know what my best is in any given moment, a bar that may not be set where I, or anyone else, thinks it should be.
While I am not ready to skip for joy toward some of the things that still lie ahead of me in my week, I know that I can take the next step directly towards them knowing that I am not alone and not expected to walk in perfection. I have God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit coaching, training, teaching and reminding me along the way one step at a time. So do you my precious friend.
I pray, my dearest reader that whatever the ugly giants are in your life, the ones that cause you to hit your knees crying out for an escape, that God’s light brings them into focus revealing their true size – though the shadows they may cast upon this day seem hauntingly large, may God’s light shrink them in comparison of His glory.
May you find yourself wrapped in an unexplainable peace that passes understanding, warming your heart and giving you strength to press forward just one step at a time until God has safely delivered you to the other side.
Beloved and Treasured Lord,
I know that some of my questions will never find answers on this side of Heaven, but how is it that You can pour love on me and work for my good when all I want to do is to run away or cower in fear? You never seem to yell or admonish me in these moments. Instead You so tenderly wrap Your arms around me, allow me to cry, soak up all my tears, stand me up, steady me on my feet, take my hand and help me to take that next step. I am so undeserving this kind of treatment, but I am so thankful for it.
Lord, I pray for those who are in pits so deep that they can not tell which way is up. I pray for those who are feeling utterly defeated in all areas of life, those struggling to just take their next breath, let alone their next step. God, please grant them unexplainable hope by Your measure. Hope in You and not in the helpers that You may send their way, because even the most generous and righteous helper is still human. But, You, You are God of infinite power and wisdom. Most importantly, You are a God generous in love and mercy. Love that can cover a multitude of sins and the pain that results from it.
This Christmas may we receive with open hearts and arms the gift of Your love, ripping open the package and consuming it to our hearts true content knowing that we have been given an eternal gift that will not break, run out or decay.
In Your Holy name, may we experience more of You Jesus, amen.